So things go wrong, with what the Tour itself calls “the terrible trio”: two category 1 climbs, the 13.2 km of the Col de Peyresourde and the 7.4 km of the Col de Val Louron-Azet, followed by the bestial non-category 16km at 8.7% Col du Portet:
After none of the GC candidates did anything of interest yesterday, it is assumed that someone needs to plan something for today or tomorrow. As Jeremy Whittle said at the start of his Step 16 report:
Reigning Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar braces for last resort attacks on his racing leadership in what could prove to be the toughest day of this year’s race – stage 17 up at the top of the 2215-meter Col de Portet pass on Wednesday.
Time is running out for those who still hope for a victory on the Champs-Élysées. With just two mountain stages and a time trial remaining, in which significant forays can be made on the 22-year-old’s five-minute lead, the race leader expects his grip on the yellow jersey is tested.
Well, I keep my fingers crossed a lot for that. Here’s what William Fotheringham had to say about the stage in his pre-race step-by-step guide:
Stage 17, Wednesday July 14, Muret – Sant-Lary-Soulan 178.4km
The first of the two summit finishes which should decide the race. There’s a long, flat preamble where a big breakaway should gain several minutes – in recent years they’ve involved as many as 30 runners – while the final 50 kilometers feature an intimidating trio of passes, culminating in the longest finish. Difficult du Tour, the super steep 10 miles to Col de Portet. López, Roglic and Pogacar will be the main men here, and the stage victory should go to the best climber in the breakaway – a rider like Gaudu.
And here’s Jeremy’s review of yesterday’s solo success for Patrick Konrad: